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[personal profile] acb
And so, this journal (by now not so much august as septembral, if not late-autumnal) sputters, ever so briefly, back to life. Once again, it has to do with my being on the road.


I am sitting in the somewhat token common room of a budget hostel in the hip Södermalm district of Stockholm. It's not so much a common room as a slightly wider expanse of corridor, with a few plastic tables and stools. In the corner, there are two pay-to-use PCs on one of those vaguely desklike arrangements they have in budget hostels. The area is dominated by a large television, which seems to be perpetually tuned to either football or, in its absence, loud American entertainment programming. One other guest—a man in his 40s, from somewhere in Scandinavia, at a guess—is listlessly watching it. I'm seated underneath it. To block out its noise, I have headphones on, and a fragment of automatically-generated ambient electronica I'm playing with in Ableton Live looping in the background. Occasionally I switch screens and change some of the instruments in it to keep it from getting too monotonous.

This is my second visit to Stockholm, the first in a few years; I flew in today, cashing in some of my BA miles; I arrived at Arlanda airport just after dusk, then catching the train to the city centre and setting about the first order of business: finding a Swedish SIM card for my iPhone. Learnings from this experience: (a) the Arlanda Express is pretty luxurious for a 20-minute train service, having not only rather elaborate seats (each apparently with some famous date from Swedish history sewn into it) but also a laptop lounge with bar-style seating and WiFi; and (b) a Telia SIM card takes about an hour to go from NO SERVICE to active.

After making my way to the hostel (an automated affair, with no staff save for two security guards who siwng by and do a patrol occasionally), I walked to the foreshore and to one of my favourite restaurants in Scandinavia: Hermans, a vegetarian buffet with amazingly good food. I had dinner there, and (as is the case), ended up eating enough to sink one of the proverbial ships.

Tomorrow, I have all day in Stockholm; before catching a sleeper train heading north (to not too far south of the arctic circle). I have a few people to catch up with here, and also will probably spend some time wandering around with a camera in hand.
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